By Ieuan Williams
Kona’s flagship downhill bike, the Operator, first appeared in 2011 but featured significant revisions in 2014 which gave it the image it has today. Over the years Kona has been successful at world level with Fabien Barel winning back to back rainbow titles on 04/05. We rode the 26” wheel version of the bike in the Seattle when it first arrived but believed it wouldn’t be too long before the 27.5” would become part of the package.
Well it took longer than expected but here it is. The 2017 Operator is constructed from aluminum throughout the range and this is no bad thing and even though the bike weighs in at 37lb we don’t really find this to be an issue. Up close it’s a tough cookie. Weight can be overrated on a gravity bike.
There are three sizes, ranging from medium to extra large and three build options. In relation to other bikes the Operator is up there with some of the longest bikes, however the chainstay ranks as one of the shortest which will surely have an affect on the bike’s balance, but more of that later.
There’s some nice detail and there has been some serious time and effort spent in making the Operator as quiet as possible with some very well covered chain stays and cable routing passing cleanly through the frame with no rattles.